Liu Jiayin’s <em>Oxhide II</em> wins at CinDi Seoul
On Tuesday, August 25, the 3rd Cinema Digital Seoul (CinDi) film festival in Seoul, Korea concluded with director Liu Jiayin’s feature Oxhide II receiving the Blue Chameleon Award, chosen by a jury of international critics. The film, which was invited to the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, also received an audience award, the White Chameleon.
Liu Jiayin is one of the youngest and most promising independent filmmakers in the Digital Video movement in China. She made her first feature Oxhide, a dGenerate title, when she was twenty-three, and served as writer, director, cinematographer, as well as a character in the three-character film. Boldly transforming documentary into fiction, Liu Jiayin cast her parents and herself as fictionalized versions of themselves in an intimate portrait of a father’s leather bag business and a family’s anxiety over its decline. Daily life in an impossibly cramped Beijing apartment takes on epic proportions in this intimate portrait, with unprecedented access of a working-class Chinese family. In an review on Cinema Scope, Shelly Kraicer praised the film as “the most important Chinese film of the past several years–and one of the most astonishing recent films from any country.”
Oxhide II, Liu’s second feature, is the sequel to Oxhide and continues to follow the fate of the same business and the same family. Using real time in the shoot, the film takes place when the family gathers to make and eat dumplings, a quintessential family ritual in China. In an interview with Fanhall Films, Liu Jiayin mentioned that in Oxhide II, she reduces the dramatic quality of Oxhide in order to present a “diluted” (xishi) life.
Launched in July 2007, CinDi aims at discovering, presenting and supporting a new generation of digital films and filmmakers in Asia. Chinese-language films covered half of this year’s program. Xu Tong’s documentary Wheat Harvest won the top Red Chamelon Award, for which the Chinese independent director Lou Ye (director of Suzhou River and Summer Palace) served in the jury. Lou’s film Spring Fever was the opening night film of the festival.